Marine Accident Report

Allision of Liberia‐Registered Fruit Juice Carrier
M/V Orange Sun with U.S.‐Registered Dredge New York
Newark Bay, New Jersey
January 24, 2008

NTSB Number: MAR-09/03
NTIS Number: PB2009-916403

Executive Summary:

On January 24, 2008, about 1352,(1) the 672-foot-long, Liberia-registered fruit juice carrier M/V Orange Sun allided with a dredge, New York, while the juice carrier was outbound under pilotage in Newark Bay. About 25 minutes into the transit, the pilot ordered a 5° starboard course change from 200° to 205° and then reduced the speed to dead slow ahead as the juice carrier approached the dredge. The helmsman on board the Orange Sun experienced difficulty trying to steady the ship on the ordered course, and after a brief series of increasing port wheel inputs to arrest the vessel’s swing to starboard, he put the wheel to midship, or zero angle. Both the helmsman and the master then made several wheel inputs to try to correct the vessel’s heading, including at least three incorrect wheel inputs to starboard, which the pilot had not ordered and which were made without his knowledge. The actions of the helmsman and the master caused the ship to steer toward the dredge, with insufficient time to avoid the allision.

As a result of the allision, the New York sustained about $6 million in damage, including salvage costs, and the Orange Sun about $330,000. About 100 gallons of mixed oil from the dredge’s machinery was released as a result of the accident. No one was injured.

The probable cause of the allision of the Orange Sun with the dredge New York was the master’s failure to appropriately use bridge resource management and to communicate; specifically, to familiarize his bridge crew with and inform the pilot of the vessel’s occasional tendency to sheer,(2) a characteristic that he had personally experienced. Contributing to the accident were the inappropriate starboard rudder movements made by both the helmsman and the master, which interfered with the pilot’s ability to take appropriate action to prevent the allision. Also contributing was the second officer’s failure to accomplish his primary duty as officer of the watch, which was to properly monitor the helmsman.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) identified the actions of the bridge team(3) leading up to the allision as the primary safety issue in the Orange Sun accident.

As a result of its investigation, the NTSB makes one recommendation to the operating company of the Orange Sun, Atlanship, S.A. (Atlanship).


  1. All times in this report are eastern standard time according to the 24-hour clock.
  2. In this report, “sheer” is the term for an unintentional diversion, or veering, from intended course.
  3. A bridge team is generally defined as everyone who is involved in a vessel’s navigation, including the pilot. For the purpose of this report, the NTSB defines the bridge team as the pilot, the master, and the navigational crew.